The Bird Man Surviving Naturally A message from the Garden Strange times. No pubs, pictures, cafes and no Grape Vine. How do we cope?

As we go through this period of uncertainty, I feel that if we look at our garden in a natural way we could be at an advantage to cope. Here are just some thoughts and insights as to how I am trying to stay safe and weather the storm.

On the 23rd of March one of my favourite nature watching places, Wentworth Garden Centre, announced that the site would be closing at the end of the day because of Covid-19, so that was my last visit for some time. It was, however, a privilege to visit the area that is closed to the public, especially with my first sighting of the year of a slow worm under one of the refuge mats and quite a few common toads under the logs that have been left there for that purpose. The good weather will be bringing along the insects there so it will be good when we do return to a more normal time.

bumble bee and song thrush

My thoughts and efforts have now turned, as I am sure most of us have, to my own garden. The dwarf cherry has been frequented by buff-tailed bees for some time now, but the recent good weather has also brought out the first early bee to forage there too. The birdfeeders are busy with the house sparrows with the hedge clattering with their calls at odd times of the day. The evening bird chorus is building with the blackbirds, robins, song thrushes and mistle thrush giving the song to the beautiful slowly fading red sky last night.

The numbers of buzzards in the afternoon gliding on the thermals is always going to amaze me as there were only one pair in a wood on the Wentworth Estate when I first moved to Rotherham; now there can be 10 to 15 of these big raptors above my house. I have a list of birds that I have seen from the garden and it includes such diverse birds as skylarks, barn owls and hobbies. These birds flying over the Bird Estate could, therefore, be seen by lots of you, I am sure, but walking past the Vicarage last year, I heard a bird that was flying high in the sky, looking up I saw it was an osprey! This bird then flew high and headed towards Keppel Tower so I think that everyone who lives in Thorpe and Scholes would have been able to have seen it from their garden, so, I think that we can all record that as a bird that we could have seen from our garden.

As you will know, I have a soft spot for the normal – the ordinary – the common, I can watch sparrows and have so much fun seeing them bathe, feed and squabble like school children just as much as seeing the exotic and rare. Some things that come to the garden and are thought of as common by us Naturalists seem to lighten the whole garden up, and one group that does just that are the butterflies, and the warmth on the run up to Easter has brought out some of these lovely insects so here are some photos for you to enjoy

buterflies buterflies

Not everyone has the benefit of a garden, but if you do, as we all know, it is a good place to allow the local wildlife to thrive. Being around nature and in the good fresh air is very important to our wellbeing and allows us to stay in a safe environment to enjoy the sunshine and a little normality watching the goings on. Let’s all look after each other by staying safe and well. Steve The Bird Man

Bird man news

The British Naturalists’ Association (BNA), for which I am the Chairman, has started to conduct a study of the biodiversity in the Churchyard in Thorpe. This is being lead by myself and helped by three of four other branch members looking at the full range of nature in the churchyard. From our first two visits we have a list of 54 species including 8 bees and 11 birds; however, it was the finding of a tiny fly on our second visit by Roy Stewart that got this group of naturalists buzzing. Chlorops pumilionis is a yellow fly with three dark stripes on the back and a dark triangle on the head and is only three millimetres long. It is described as rare or under-recorded nationally with only 218 records in the British Isles, 6 South Yorkshire records and none in the Thorpe/Scholes area making this an important find. This comes nine years after I found the first record of the tree bee for Yorkshire in the Churchyard in 2010. The visits by the group will continue this study over the next couple of years and the list of species will grow, I am sure, as the seasons change. Steven Rutherford

Sheffield diocese strategy for its vision

The Sheffield diocese has recently launched its vision for the diocese by 2025. The Strategy falls under three areas: Renewed, Released, Rejuvenated. For a fuller explanation of each strand visit the website Although over the coming months more of this will be explained.

The RENEWED part of the strategy aims to maintain as a first priority a real reliance on the Spirit of God in prayer and worship and in the consecration of our lives, as individuals and communities. Under this part of the strategy, the diocese would like individuals to become involved in a prayer community. Again details of what that will entail are on website and where you can sign up. However, it is a big commitment but we can still be part of that by committing ourselves to pray daily the special prayer that has been written. At a recent meeting of the church council it was agreed to include the prayer on our pewsheet rather than the usual verse of scripture. I would encourage all of us in our daily practice of setting time aside for prayer to pray this prayer.

Living God, Jesus calls his followers to seek first your Kingdom.
Renew us as we make your love known;
Release us to share freely together in mission;
and Rejuvenate us to be fruitful in your service.
Give us courage, wisdom and compassion,
that strengthened with the grace of the Holy Spirit,
we may, your Church both flourish and grow through Christ our Lord. Amen


Of food stuffs and toiletries for Shiloh can still be left each week in the cupboard in the narthex (see poster for suitable items). This is emptied every week and taken down to Shiloh. If you have donations of bedding/towels/clothing please contact Richard Pilley at church who will happily collect it and take it down for you if you are unable to take it yourself.


If anyone takes a photograph of a child on our site, at Church, Trinity Community Centre, in the churchyard/grounds, or at any other place where an event connected with us is taking place, please will you make sure that the parents or adult with decision making responsibility for that child is happy with the photograph being taken and possibly appearing on a web site or on social media.

Pewsheet by email

If you signed up to receive the pewsheet by email you should now be receiving it. If you have signed up to do this but have not received it please let Joyce know.